Prime Minister Imran Khan, during a visit to Wana, announced that 3G/4G internet services will become operational in Waziristan from today (Wednesday).
The premier made the remarks while addressing a cheque distribution ceremony for the successful applicants of the Kamyab Jawan Loan Scheme and the Youth Internship Scheme.
"I know that 3G and 4G is important for education and development [...] this was a huge demand of the youth, one that was justified," he said, as participants of the ceremony cheered.
The prime minister went on to explain that "security issues" were a major reason in the delay behind providing 3G/4G internet services.
"[India] is trying its best to spread terror in Pakistan. We know of their efforts to spread chaos in Balochistan [...] we have all the knowledge. Even in Waziristan, they are trying to instigate the youth against Pakistan. So that is why there was a problem regarding 3G/4G services which terrorists could also use."
"But I spoke to my security agencies [...] we agreed that we need to be cognisant of terrorists using this facility. Despite this, we also thought that it is the need of our young people and that is why this service will become operational from today."
The prime minister stated that approximately 70 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line in Waziristan. "That is why we have the Ehsaas programme, the aim of which is to uplift those living below the poverty line by giving them cash stipends and scholarships."
He assured the people of Waziristan that the government was fully committed towards working for their welfare. "Whoever you voted for, it doesn't make a difference to us. We will try to uplift this area and provide whatever facilities we can," he said, adding that the government was working on bringing an "olive revolution" in the area.
"This is the best area for growing olive trees. We have carried out a survey and will start planting trees next month which we will hand over to the people."
He said that people's income will increase drastically due to the olive trees, resulting in them not having to travel abroad for jobs.
'Govt's philosophy to uplift deprived people, areas'
The premier began his address by giving a message to the people of Waziristan. "The philosophy of my government is that we focus on uplifting those people and areas that have been left behind. No one is here to ask for votes or to make promises that are made during election campaigns."
He said that by receiving technical education, young people can uplift their families and the country. "So first education and then employment is the biggest challenge." He said that the 'war on terror' had caused the most damage in Waziristan.
"The Kamyab Jawan programme, under which we distributed cheques today, is just the beginning. We will try our best to focus our energies here and in Balochistan."
He added that the government will try to help the youth as much as possible in finding employment opportunities.
PM Imran said that he was aware of the "passion" of the people, acknowledging that it was a tough task to merge these areas with Pakistan. "Time will prove that this was an excellent decision for the future of the people of the region."
He said that the demands of the people mostly concerned the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and governor. "That is why I have asked them to be here today. For sure, most of your demands are valid and legitimate."
During his address, the prime minister also touched upon respect for elders in tribal districts. "I know about your history and I agree with you on this. Even in our religion, elders are respected. In tribal areas they play a special role."
He said that the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) system, which is essentially the jirga system, would consist of elders. "We are just changing the name, you will take decisions," he said, assuring the people that the government was aware of the people's traditions.
The prime minister also directed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar — who was also present on the occasion — to increase the number of scholarships being provided to the people of the region.
He also directed KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to take notice of the people's issues, adding that the people of the region will also receive health insurance.